Every year, 3 million Muslim pilgrims from over 120 different countries travel to Makkah (commonly transliterated as Mecca), Saudi Arabia, to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) in the Islamic month of Zilhaj. Due to the ever-increasing number of visitors each year, overcrowding has led to deadly accidents and stampedes in the past; to ensure crowd safety and better circulation, the Makkah Development Authority (MDA) engaged Otis, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of people-moving products, and successfully oversaw the redesigning of the Jamarat Bridge.
Watch the video above for a summary of the architectural design of the Jamarat Bridge, or read on to see a 7-minute mini-documentary about the structure's development.
Pilgrims traverse the Jamarat Bridge several times to complete one of the key rituals of Hajj. Bearing in mind the historical, cultural and religious importance of the site, engineers sought to maximize movement and accommodate twice the number of people that the previous two-story structure allowed. The redesigned bridge has 4 levels with a covered roof, 308 escalators, and 10 elevators, plus 2 ambulance elevators and 2 helipad elevators for emergencies.
While the MDA has achieved what it set out to ensure, further expansion of the religious complex does not stop here. “With small modifications we can accommodate up to 6 million people”, says Dr. Osama Al Bar, Mayor of the Holy City Makkah.